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The anatomy of the bird-dinosaur Archaeopteryx is reminiscent of that of modern flightless birds that descended from flying ones. | Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images.

The anatomy of the bird-dinosaur Archaeopteryx is reminiscent of that of modern flightless birds that descended from flying ones. | Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images.

(Huffington Post Science)

Although it has long been debated whether the proto-bird Archaeopteryx was able to actually fly or merely evolving toward that ability, to date nobody had yet seriously suggested that it could have been instead in the midst of losing its ability to fly. But that is precisely what Michael Habib, a biologist at the University of Southern California proposed last week to a packed hall at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Los Angeles.
With the skeleton of a dinosaur and the feathers of a bird, Archaeopteryx has long been hailed as marking the transition from dinosaurs to birds.

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